Wednesday, July 31, 2019


So very sad to hear of the passing of Air Marshal Sir Freddie Sowrey (1922-2019), a good friend  who visited our town of Billericay three years ago on the occasion of the centenary of the crashing of the L32 Zeppelin. Sir Freddie, son of Royal Flying Corps Second Lieutenant Frederick Sowrey unveiled a commemoration stone in Greens Farm Lane on  24 September 2016.  This is close to the spot where the L32 Zeppelin landed after being shot down by Second Lieutenant Sowrey, when sadly 22 young German airmen lost their lives.The commemoration event brought many people to Billericay, including family members of the German airmen alongside Sir Freddie's own family. I spoke to Sir Freddie just a few weeks ago and read his magnificent book 'The Sowreys' 

Sir Freddie inspecting  our 2393 (Billericay)  Royal Air Force Air Cadets in 2016

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


On the occasion of the 50th anniversary on 20th July of those first Americans landing on the moon, we have seen weeks of newspaper-filled features on this momentous event.  I am still engrossed in reading the superbly researched and written book by Jules Cashford in 2004 and learnt much about that orb in the sky at night. Now I am also reading reports on this amazing piece of history and have just come across the astronaut Buzz Aldrin's articles following the death in 2012 of his Apollo 11 colleague, Neil Armstrong, Aldrin said that he was "deeply saddened by the passing ... I know I am joined by many millions of others from around the world in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew ... I had truly hoped that on July 20th, 2019, Neil, Mike and I would be standing together to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our moon landing."  

So, upwards and onwards in my study of lunar landings and more reading about the moon and what exciting exploration awaits mankind.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


Hope Her Majesty the Queen enjoyed reading my last  book written on the 50th anniversary of the extraordinary changes in the borough's history. A special copy was delivered the morning she visited Barking exactly four years ago today and it was a pleasure to meet so many visitors and expats who made the journey to be there at this special time. It's fascinating to study those early photographs in my book, many of which were taken by the eminent historian the late Norman Gunby, a good friend and colleague. This particular book can be found at Valence House Museum and, of course, through the web.  I am happy to provide signed copies at some of the signing sessions and talks at Dagenham and Barking Libraries planned nearer Christmas. 

Weblog address:
Around that time, I am also hoping to link up with the Dagenham Carnival Court girls of the mid-60s. Some great memories of an extra-special era that kicked off amazing few years.  Tempus fugit!  

Workwise, my new book BRENTWOOD IN 50 BUILDINGS will be available from 1 September 2019 from all good bookshops and my back list (11 titles) with four different publishers, is still obtainable through Amazon and can be ordered through bookshops. More details at the Society of Women Writers & Journalists

Monday, July 15, 2019


Feline Network Patron MP for Torbay Kevin Foster and Debbie Johnson
While in Devon recently, I visited the Feline Network Charity shop at 11-13 Torquay Road, Paignton and was delighted to learn that it is dedicated to the world of cats. You all know how I love these furry creatures, as do so many in the UK and my readers in the US. 

This non-profit rescue organisation was set up by Debbie Johnson helped by her volunteers who all do their best to rescue and care for unwanted, ill-treated, abandoned and stray cats and kittens, ensuring they are neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped flea/worm treated, prior to finding  them suitable new homes.

Debbie Johnson Founder of Feline Network and volunteer Jenni Elliott in the Feline Network Charity Shop in Torquay Road, Paignton, Devon 

Debbie and her team recently celebrated their ten year anniversary by arranging a great BBQ in Paignton to which one of their patrons,Torbay Member of Parliament Kevin Foster and friends of the charity attended and we all enjoyed a lovely evening listening to live music from Paddy's Whiskers.  

It's good to hear of such charities that help animals in this way, particularly cats.  Debbie and her team - all volunteers - are self-supporting and are able to do so by fundraising, raffles and the donations that help support this charity. 

In return, the Feline Network volunteers make themselves available offering help, information and advice to the public on all aspects of cat care.  A warm welcome awaits new volunteers whether in the shop (their main source of funding), fostering cats prior to re-homing or, indeed, their fund-raising events.  

The next big event is the Torbay Carnival on 31 July where the team will be parading through Paignton.  To find out more, do take a peep at their website:

and perhaps make a donation or get involved if you have a little time on your hands. 
Tel: 01803 392550

Friday, July 05, 2019


So good to clear up your office after a long period of research, interviewing, writing  and providing images for the new book (my 12th). Then comes the marketing and more talks and book signings, so off we go again. 

At the same time, you have to think of signing and sending off your earlier books - but all essential in keeping your brain and fingers working well. Glad that readers like their social history. Keeps me in business! 

Now picking up my threads of short story scribing which I started so many years ago. 

Thursday, July 04, 2019


Society of Women Writers and Journalists

The Society of Women Writers and Journalists’ next event is with author Vaseem Khan, who will talk about how he went about getting published, before he takes us on a journey from the days of the Raj to the heart of modern India, a colourful and conflicted environment of vast new wealth and historical problems. Vaseem will explore the background to his Baby Ganesh Detective Agency novels, examining the realities of life in a country being transformed by unprecedented global change. He will also answer the intriguing question: how do you fit an elephant into a crime story?

Vaseem Khan is the author of the bestselling Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series featuring Indian detective Ashwin Chopra and his baby elephant sidekick. The first book in the series, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra was a Times best seller and a Waterstones Paperback of the Year and is now published in 12 languages.

It takes place on Monday 22 July, at 6-8pm, at the Lounge at Grant Thornton, 30 Finsbury Square, London. Tickets cost £10  Details at